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Study Galactic Gardening Can Relieve Stress in Space

first_img In space, no one can hear you stress.As we prepare for the future of galactic travel, researchers are looking into ways to help astronauts cope with the anxieties of space missions.A new study from the University of Florida suggests the psychological benefits of gardening.Master’s student Raymond Odeh and horticulture professor Charles Guy determined that plant-human interactions can provide astronauts the same serenity they do on Earth.The pair make a case for “plant-mediated” therapies, which they said may balance out behavioral health, cognitive performance, and overall physical health during long-distance trips.Astronauts spend months floating through a hostile environment, isolated and confined, unable to step outside for a breath of fresh air. Cut off from family, friends, and Netflix, the brave men and women of international space programs endure endless physical and emotional challenges.I tend toward Barry Manilow and a bar of chocolate to ease my anxieties. But not everyone can drown their sorrows at the Copacabana.Instead, they can develop a green thumb.Interactions with plants “provide essential benefits to the health, well-being, and longevity of people, wherever they may live,” according to the study, published Oct. 2 in the journal Open Agriculture.Odeh and Guy drive their theory home with anecdotes from astronauts who experienced the psychological impact of growing plants in space.“It was surprising to me how great [six] soybean plants looked,” Peggy Whitson wrote in an email, describing her reaction to an agricultural experiment aboard the ISS in 2002.“I guess seeing something green for the first time in a month and a half had a real effect,” she continued. “From a psychological perspective, I think it’s interesting that the reaction was as dramatic as it was.“Guess if we go to Mars, we need a garden,” Whitson added.What applies to humans on Earth also applies to humans in space: Gardening is a fruitful (no pun intended) stress reliever that will no doubt follow people as we venture further from this planet.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System last_img read more